Choosing a chameleon breeder is a complicated decision that should be based on several different factors. The best chameleon breeders are those who properly raise healthy chameleons. To select a breeder, it is best to base your decision on the species a breeder raises as well as how the breeder raises and transports the chameleons. It is also important to choose breeders who are willing to prove and guarantee the health of their chameleons.
With more than 135 species in the Chamaeleonidae family, it is important to choose breeders who raise the species that interest you. Jackson's, panther, and veiled chameleons are the species most commonly kept as pets. Some breeders also offer less common species, including carpet, Fischer’s, Oustalet's and pygmy chameleons. If you are interested in purchasing a rare species, it may take some time to find a breeder who has mature chameleons ready to adopt.
Once you have found a few chameleon breeders that offer your species of choice, determine whether they breed or catch their lizards. The best breeders are those that breed their chameleons, rather than selling chameleons taken from their natural habitat. Wild chameleons have a difficult time acclimating to captivity. Many times, these lizards become stressed, dehydrated and may even carry dangerous parasites.
It is also important to evaluate how a breeder raises their pet chameleons. Chameleons are solitary creatures that should be provided with large, well ventilated cages. Most breeders will not sell pet lizards until they are between six and eight weeks old. Until a lizard is sold, it should be kept in a screened-in cage with a steady supply of hydration. These exotic pets should also be given plants and branches to climb on.
Chameleon breeders who do not raise their lizards in the correct environment should be avoided. Raising chameleons, from egg to maturity, takes a dedicated attention to detail. Breeders who keep their chameleons in less-than-optimal living conditions may also forgo other important details.
Before choosing a breeder, you will also need to determine how the lizard will be transferred. Breeders are usually willing to mail pet lizards to their customers. To ensure the safety of the lizard, the best chameleon breeders will use an overnight mailing service to transport their chameleons. Supplies like temporary cages, food and water should be provided.
To ensure that customers receive their chameleons in perfect health, many breeders guarantee the health of their lizards. The shipping process can be very stressful on a chameleon. If a breeder is not willing to guarantee the health of their chameleons for a few days to a few weeks after shipment, this should be a red flag.
Before shipping a chameleon, breeders should also provide several pictures of the animal and its living arrangements. This will help you determine the health of the chameleon as well as the amount of care it has received. Never be afraid to ask for more detailed pictures of lizards that interest you. The best chameleon breeders will be very accommodating in supplying potential customers with pictures of their lizards. Only after browsing detailed pictures will you be able to tell whether you are purchasing a lizard from an experienced, dedicated breeder.